How should a decent liberal-minded - that's classical liberal, of course - person vote in next week's German election?
The reasons for the defeat of the Red-Green coalition are obvious: it talks about economic reform, but delivers little; it stands against the extension of freedom into the middle east; the SPD adopted Nazi campaign tactics to hold on to Nordrhein-Westphalia in the Land election earlier this year. A CDU/CSU-FDP coalition is the likely result of the election, and much to be desired.
But to vote CDU/CSU or FDP? The FDP is traditionally liberal: it believes in personal and economic freedom. It is more likely than the Christian Democrats to promote serious tax cuts, and perhaps even the flat tax, that could drive the economy of all Europe forward. CDU leader, Angela Merkel, seems to support a flat tax, but her party does not. On the other hand, the CDU has opposed Shcroeder's anti-American foreign policy, and the FDP has stood somewhere in the middle.
Anyone who believes in personal and economic freedom and, critically, believes these freedoms apply to people in the middle east as well as Europe, should want to strengthen the hand of the FDP when negotiating an economic policy for the coalition, but the CDU when it comes to negotiating foreign policy.
The ideal result would be a coalition in which the FDP takes the ministry of economy, as is traditional, but also takes interior, instead of the traditional role of the foreign ministry.
That would suit me, and Angela Merkel. But could we persuade the FDP?